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Love cenotes? It may turn out that you have a comet to thank

New thinking on what created the earth-shaking crater in Chicxulub

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Rendered image simulating the impact on Yucatán 66 million years ago: Photo: File

The asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs and created the Chicxulub crater in Yucatán may have not been an asteroid after all. 

Scientists at Harvard University now believe that a comet propelled by Jupiter’s gravity was the real culprit. 

The comet is thought to have likely originated from a remote area of the solar system known as the Oort cloud.

The Chicxulub crater is named after a town of the same name, which sits near its center. The crater has a diameter of over 180 kilometers, and it is believed that the heat produced by the impact liquified the ground and created the network of cenotes for which Yucatán is famous. 

Because of its great size, and the fact that much of it is underwater, the crater is impossible to observe with the naked eye. However, researchers since the 1970s have studied its composition for clues regarding the literally world-shaking event. 

Scientists maintain that the force of the explosion must have released energy over a billion times higher than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

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